Southeastern News

“Storm Ready’’ program offers safety tips for severe weather

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service makes a graphic point about the dangers of lightning during Wednesday’s Storm Ready presentation at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service makes a graphic point about the dangers of lightning during Wednesday’s Storm Ready presentation at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s “Storm Ready” presentation Wednesday afternoon was both informative and enlightening.

Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, delivered a powerpoint presentation that featured graphics of actual tornadoes and their aftermath.

Smith said tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and the best protection is simply —  Get In! Get Down! Cover Up!

“It’s not a matter of if we will have tornadoes in Oklahoma, it’s when,’’ Smith said.  “They are most common from March to June, but can occur any day of the year. I tell people that tornado season is from January 1 to December 31.’’

Approximately 50 people watched and listened as Smith urged everyone to take cover when thunder, lightning or hail are present. He said it is never wise to try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.

A storm shelter or safe room is the best bet if available. Otherwise, he advised to  seek shelter on the lowest floor of a building, in a closet or room without windows or outside walls. Use layers for protection, including helmets of any kind, blankets, comforters, sleeping bags, etc.

Smith said the best advice is to have a plan in place in case of bad weather. Know in advance what you will do and how you will do it. Be prepared with battery-powered weather radios, first aid kits and sturdy clothing.

Also providing information during the two-hour program, held in Southeastern’s newly-renovated Ballroom, were James Dalton, director of the Durant/Bryan  County Emergency Management Office,  and Stacy Ballew, Southeastern chief of police.

The audience included University staff and students as well as community members.

This program was part of the ongoing Southeastern Organization Leadership Development (SOLD) series at the University.

Stacy Ballew named SE Chief of Police; Steve Harman named SE Chief of Environmental Health and Safety

Stacy Ballew, Chief of Police

Steve Harman, Chief of Environmental Health and Safety

DURANT, Okla. – Stacy Ballew has been named Chief of Police at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Steve Harman is the new Chief of Environmental Health and Safety.

The appointments became official July 1 after both individuals served in an interim capacity for the past four months. “Campus security is a top priority at the University,” said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “Stacy and Steve have demonstrated the ability to provide the leadership needed for the department. We appreciate their efforts and the efforts of their entire staff.”

Ballew spent 20 years with the Durant Police Department as a reserve and full-time officer, advancing to the rank of lieutenant. The Durant High School graduate joined the campus force in 2006 as a patrolman and achieved the rank of captain. He has several family members who are in law enforcement and he has followed in their footsteps.

“I went to the Reserve Academy,” Ballew said, “and that piqued my interest. This job gets into your blood. I had a very enjoyable career with the Durant Police Department and it has been the same way here at Southeastern.

“Jon Clouse (retired campus police chief) did a lot of good things for our department, made a lot of improvements, really brought it forward. I’m very appreciative of his time here and I just want to continue his good work.”

Ballew has earned Advanced Cleet (Council on Law Enforcement, Education and Training) certification.

Harman is a graduate of Ardmore High School, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Southeastern (’88), earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with minors in Business and Safety. He worked for Southwestern Bell from 1972-79 and worked as Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper for 28 years (1979-2006). He came to Southeastern in 2006 as Police/Safety Officer.

The Southeastern police force consists of Sgt. Jody Hall, who started in July 1999; Officer Steve Miller, who started part-time in Nov. 1988 and became full-time in April 2010.

Three new police officers on the force are Tim Green, Angie Carroll and Chad Hendricks.